And it will make you feel like you’re at a fancy spa.
This article originally appeared on Real Simple
Throughout my time working at Real Simple, I’ve heard my fellow editors sing the praises of eucalyptus. I know, for example, that a eucalyptus-scented natural-oil diffuser is a nice finishing touch when setting up a guest room. Our comprehensive guide to natural cleaning solutions informed me that a blend of eucalyptus oil, water, and vinegar is an effective (and good-smelling) way to clean my combs and hair brushes. And our home editors have made me aware of the creative (and absolutely stunning) ways to incorporate eucalyptus into winter décor, from a greens and succulents wreath to a table runner to a place setting.
But despite all of the genius tips I’ve acquired throughout the years, I just discovered a brand new way to use the evergreen branches. In addition to buying a Christmas tree, stringing twinkly lights, and lighting candles in every room, my roommates and I tied eucalyptus to our showerhead as part of our Christmas decorating. Why? It makes the bathroom smell incredible, adds a natural, woodsy look to our apartment, and, as I recently learned, can help ease congestion (which I think we all struggle with in the wintertime).
Here’s how it works: the steam from the shower extracts the oils from the leaves, and the oils then act as a natural decongestant that help clear nasal passages. The steam also maximizes the oils’ benefits, as it allows the micro particles to go deeper into your lungs. To set up your shower, simply buy a bundle of fresh eucalyptus (sold at flower stores, craft stores, and some grocery stores) and tie the stems together with twine. While baker’s twine or cotton twine will work, garden twine is ideal because it’s more water-resistant. Then, tie the end of the bundle to your shower head so that the branches are hanging upside down behind the stream of water. And that’s it! You’ve just created an at-home spa experience—and it will smell like Christmas every time you shower.
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